This article mainly discusses two basic translating methods: literal translation and free translation. In order to demonstrate their importance in translating methods, we will discuss their own conceptions and effects and the integration of literal translation and free translation. The aim of this article is to make readers grasp literal translation and to make readers understand their relationship well. Although literal translation and free translation are two completely different translating methods in many conditions, the literal translation and free translation are always reciprocal to each other .Only we grasp these well, can we finish translating work better.
Translating methods are the main problems we must face when we translate articles. There are many kinds of translating methods: literal translation,free translation,transliteration,the combination of literal translation and free translation an so on. Among these methods, literal translation and free translation are the two main methods, which we usually use. Literal translation is the way to maintain the contents and the form of the source language in accordance with the culture. While free translation is just to maintain the contents and the main meaning of the passage. If we use this methods, we should give up the literal meaning of the source language because of some culture and social differences. In the following, we will discuss the two methods and their relationship.
literal translation and free translation
It is generally believed that the literal translation is a method, which is faithful to the original text and form. In fact , literal translation emphasizes the“form similarity”.It requires the accordance between the original passages and the translated one in the choice of word, syntax and styles .
Some of the western theorists argue that we should give the priority to literal translation when translating articles(P15,Approaches to Translation by Peter Newmark)Because literal translation can preserve the original articles, for example the original text, form and figure of speech. What’s more, the literal translation can make the translated version and the original one have the same appeal.
However the disadvantage of literal translation is obvious. It make the translated version difficult for the target language readers to understand. Because different countries have different culture and orders of language.
Free translation is the way to, according to the main meaning of the original passage, translate a sentence without paying attention to the details, for example the form of the source language, figure of speech and the structure of sentence. Free translation should accord with target language and customs. Then target language readers can accept translation easily.
Some of our Chinese theorists insist on using free translation in order to preserve the article’ lingering charm. For example,LiuMiqing,a famous Chinese theorist, holds the idea that only free translation can fully express the article’ charm. In addition, free translation can fully express the original passage when it is improper to use literal translation. What’s more, it. can make the translation fluent and esay to understand by target language readers. Although most of translators adopt free translation, it brings some problems. If free translation is out of limits, it will distort the meanings of the original articles.
Integration of literal translation and free translation
As for these two basic translating methods, we can not judge which is better without the proper circumstance .A larger number of facts have proved that these two kinds of methods are opposite. They have their own advantage.
There are some sentences should not be translated literally. Because different countries have different cultures, language, customs and ways to express the same meanings. Different language have different idioms. In China, people usually use some idioms to describe a thing or a person .And in foreign countries there are lots of idioms, too. But Chinese idioms can’t be understand by foreigners. In such cases, if we translate literally, after the language readers ,they world not understand the meaning of source language properly. Because the translated passage was vague.
Literal translation is incomprehensible or even absurdi.It just keeps the original form and structure. But it doesn’t in line with the culture and customs of the target language, But after the free translation, it became clean. And the target language readers can understand then.
But in many conditions, the literal translation and free translation are always reciprocal to each other.
Literal translation and free translation are two main different ways in translation. An excellent translation should include these two kinds of translation. In the above, we have discussed the conceptions and effect of literal translation and free translation and the integration of these two methods. After the discussion, we’ll find that they have their own advantages and disadvantages. At the same time, they are reciprocal to each other. We’d better grasp these two kinds of ways in order to finish our translating work better. So when we are translating articles, we must accumulate more experience and knowledge. At that time, we may use these two kinds of ways properly.